A truth too hot to handle.
Our guess is that Nancy Pelosi will come to regret her accusation on Thursday that CIA officials lied to her about their interrogation of terrorists. It took only a day for the agency to fire back, in the form of a statement from Director Leon Panetta, a Democrat, an Obama appointee and a long-time California Congressional colleague of the House Speaker.
"CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah," Mr. Panetta wrote in a memo to agency employees. "It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values." A day earlier, Mrs. Pelosi had claimed that CIA officials had "misled" her at a September 4, 2002 briefing on enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding of the likes of Zubaydah.
Mr. Panetta had little choice but to publicly defend an agency whose morale he is now responsible for maintaining. However, on the merits, it seems highly implausible that the CIA would have lied to Mrs. Pelosi. Briefings are attended by more than one agency official, and a legislative liaison typically writes up a summary memo describing significant exchanges. Agency careerists hardly loved the Bush Administration after the Iraq WMD fiasco, and the controversy over "torture" has raged for years. If the CIA had misled Congress on a matter that was so politicized, surely someone in the agency would have leaked it long before now, if only to deflect blame onto the unpopular (and soon to depart) Republicans.
Mrs. Pelosi is now caught in a humiliation of her own design that will only escalate if she insists on an interrogation "truth commission." To adapt a famous phrase, we're not sure her reputation can handle the truth.
Panetta's Pelosi Smackdown - WSJ.com